Creatives You're In the Business of Sales Too

Nothing happens until a sale is made. - Tom Watson Sr., IBM Founder

That paint brush you are holding, the camera in your hands, the paper you write on and the computer you design with all started in a warehouse waiting to be sold to a store and purchased by you. 

Without a sale or a buy taking place, your dreams would be impossible to achieve. 

If you are in business for yourself, if you are operating or would like to one-day operate a creative business you must come to the realization that you are in the business of sales. You are in the business of informing a potential client about your service or product before they have enough confidence in you to buy.  

your clothing line needs sales support. 

your clothing line needs sales support. 

You can come to this understanding one of two ways: when a gallery owner informs you that you need a larger platform for them to take the risk on your work or by creating a product and releasing it to the quiet sound of nothingness. No sales. No customers. No impact. No financial independence. 

After I wrote and self-published my second book, The Beginner's Guide to Finding Your Brave, this realization hit me. I must adjust my way of thinking if I want to sell books. I am not waiting on an agent, publishing house, the writing community to choose me. We must choose ourselves. Technology has made the barrier to entry accessible to people like you and me who are driven and hungry to create things in our lives. 

I spent my senior year in college and the first six years of my professional career in the sales industry. It was hard work but the skills I learned are invaluable to the way business is done today. 

I initially thought my writing and I could drift off into the sunset, and because I wrote a book, people would buy it and read it, wrong, wrong, wrong. Once you write your book, you take your photos, and you sing your songs it all needs selling to generate a profit. 

The challenge is yours. Will you take your creative business in your hands or wait to be picked? 

I recommended this book to my sales staff, and I will recommend it to you: Selling 101. If you would like to chat about goals for your creative business visit and click on the "I want 15-minutes" button. 

See you at the top! 


4 things I learned from working in the male-dominated sports industry

You can learn a lot from your professional experience. If you look hard enough, you will see a common thread between everything you’ve done and everything you will do. 

I began my stint in the sports industry as a junior in college by volunteering for player foundations in the NFL (National Football League). The work was grueling. I spent a lot of my time organizing volunteers to man concession stands for hours at the old Cowboys Stadium. Depending on how you look at the work, it can be training or brutal. I choose training. 

What I learned from my time in sports is that with enough passion and focus the ride to the top can be enjoyable. Here are four additional key takeaways: 

1.) Know what you want and share your goals with those that can help. Very often, we go into situations unsure of what we want but the reason I will encourage you to have an idea because those in upper management tend to be goal oriented individuals. How can someone assist you to achieve your goals if you don’t have any or don’t know where to start? I suggest you question everything. Ask specific questions. Dig. Find a blueprint that can help you uncover your wants and allow the journey to unfold. 

Specificity is the key to goal attainment. 

2.) Know who you are. What are your non-negotiables? How far is too far? I’ve found that by having a center of gravity, non-negotiables, that I have been able to avoid the pitfalls of a fast paced entertainment driven industry like the sports industry. If you don’t know who you are, there are those eager to define that for you. 


3.) Do you know the art of negotiation? You want something. Great! So does the other person. Michael Mamas of Entrepreneur Magazine put out a great article on the how to master the art of negotiation. To sum it up, building relationships is key. The best way to get what you want is by helping others get what they want, and the way you do this is by remembering it is not all about you. 

Eye contact doesn't hurt either. 

4.) Never give up on your dreams no matter where the journey takes you. I made up in my mind that the boys would not have all the fun and so my goal to be the first minority female majority owner of an NBA team is an homage to that way of thinking. 

What is your audacious goal? And what does it matter if it is in an industry led by men? The challenge is yours for the taking.


Creativity & Freedom

"Silliness" (To create this image took three photo editing apps, 2 hours. The process, frustrating. The outcome, execution.) 

"Silliness" (To create this image took three photo editing apps, 2 hours. The process, frustrating. The outcome, execution.) 

Let's face it. We are all creators. We are creators of wild ideas and dinner party concepts. We are designers of our personal looks and ninja creatives around saving money and fun. I believe each time we create anything we can call ourselves creators. 

You probably would not call yourself a creator because you believe creators are “artsy,” they went to fancy design schools, or have the best styled social media accounts.

If you want to create, create. There is no limit on any human’s ability to create something from nothing.

Is permission-seeking holding you back? Or self-esteem? Or confidence?

Whatever the thought is holding you back, that too is merely an idea you’ve created based on your understanding of the creative process. 

In her documentary, “Between the Lines,” Agnes Martin spoke about the topic of creativity. Martin discussed how she created for twenty years and at the end of that time trashed the work she produced. Argued in the video, Martin believes in creating with her back against the world. She created every day and edited her work vehemently.

Martin cancels the opinions of others from her creative process and creates, over and over again.

Today, Martin’s work is known all around the world. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts and referrred to her work as abstract expressionism.

What if you created with your back to the world? What would you construct? I bet it would be awesome! 

Whether you have created a child, a career or a poem, you are a creator. You were made to create. 

You and I may not be Agnes Martin, but with practice, time, and hard work we will look back on our creations with great pride and humility for the road we journeyed.  

What will you create? 


Stop Romanticizing Your Business

Boy, oh boy, have I had to face the music on romanticizing the idea of business and writing. Creativity needs to be practical if you are going to build a business and inspire others to do the same.  

“I am a writer [painter, graphic designer, creative, etc.]” 

I wrote passionately about faith and culture on my previous blog for four years - nothing, crickets, no financial freedom, no push back, no conversations, nothing. 

Then, I met my husband, and then Gary Vaynerchuck. I will explain later.

I believed I would be selling out or betraying the craft if I pandered to the business of writing. I thought I was giving the world what it needed. The world just didn't know it yet. Simply put, pride, ego, and self-awareness were my problem. 

What I now believe is that you have to give people what they want before you can give them what they need. You have to care about them first before you start pushing your agenda on them. Everything else, is just your over inflated ego showing up to a party that only you are attending. Hence, the four-year conversation I was having with myself - tragic.

My husband is quite the opposite. A tall guy, great smile, glasses, focused mind, with a well thought-out demeanor. He does not overthink or second guess the value you bring to people when you build a strong business, sell great products and charge a reasonable price for them. 

He has made me practical, data-driven, rational. He has taught me that I cannot afford to romanticize my dreams if I want to impact people's lives and build a legacy. We, as humans have come to this point in our evolution through a particular way of communicating. It is up to me, the creative, to get to the heart of the matter, reach people in their language and not expect or force them to come over to my way of thinking.

And this is where Gary Vaynerchuck or Gary Vee comes into the picture.  

The Market and Getting Punched In The Mouth 

Vaynerchuck, who I consider a business mentor from afar, talks about allowing the market to decide if your brand, product or service is good enough. Instead of romanticizing your ideas with the notion that you and only you know what is best for the world you review real-time data on how you are doing. Sometimes you get a warm welcome, and sometimes you get punched in the mouth.

We all learn differently. I once heard it said that we often change when the pain of staying the same is too much. I don't like getting punched in the mouth, but for four years I did the same thing over again expecting a different result - insanity.

The punch in the mouth is the silence your passionate business project or idea makes when you have not added anything to the conversation nor achieved your business goals. 

Last month, I received a rejection letter from a major publisher, I wrote about it here. I was punched in the mouth. I had two choices repeat strategy, repeat behavior, or analyze and alter course. 

I chose to alter course. What will you decide? 


Put The First Things First: Action Items

The truth about action items and to-do-list is most of the time things simply don’t get done. 

You are called away to put out fires, you need a restroom break, coffee, or a mental break, and before you know it, it's 5:15 and you still have not taken action on those action items. 

You could scramble to finish them but when did scrambling ever produce the “best” results? 

Now, the action that was so important it landed on your “action item” list, is now the first thing you do tomorrow. But who knows what tomorrow will bring?

When I stumbled on Stephen Covey’s time management model or better known to some as ‘The Eisenhower Matrix,' I thought to myself, “Oh, here is another productivity tip that will be a chore to carry out.” I was wrong. 

It's about putting the first things first. 

Let’s face it, as your typical work day pushes towards late afternoon, you begin to lose your will to work and maybe your will to even keep your eyes open (I recommend 15 min naps). But if you took care of the most important things first you could step away, run errands, or do anything to catch your second wind without the burden of things left undone. 

Covey’s model breaks down like this: 

Block one: “urgent and important,” means do it now. Your projects that are on deadlines or a health issue that you keep putting off, an upcoming presentation that needs research and prep time. Look at it like this, the more you waver on these things, the more you think about them. That time thinking or obsessing could have been put towards doing.

Block two: “important but not urgent” (decide when to do it, schedule it). These items have a stake in your future but are not impacting today. These items have a 30-day deadline. You can place your Facebook Online Marketing course here or the Introduction to Coding course you've been wanting to take in this quadrant.  

Block three: “urgent but not important.” Checking your GoDaddy automatic upcoming renewals, pre-scheduling social media post, washing clothes, and checking your P.O Box. These items can be done by your spouse, friend, or virtual assistant. Decide to offload, so these tasks are off your mind. 

Block four:  “not urgent, not important.” These are to-do items you should completely drop. They are not inline with your “why.” They are not advancing you. They don’t have a negative impact on you what so ever. For me, this includes organizing apps on my iPhone, color-coding my closet (what? I think about this and it lands on my to-do list from time to time), or even running constant diagnostics on my computer. 

The biggest shortcut to mastering anything worth doing is to hold your “why” firmly in your mind. Otherwise, you could be pushing your dreams into tomrrow. 

How does your time management quadrants stack up? What is “urgent and important,” why?  


Never Count Yourself Out Until the Game Is Over


Let's get this out of the way. I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, period. But being someone who enjoys sports and watching true competition unfold, Sunday’s game was amazing! 

The action in the 4th quarter alone was enough to make any sports fan want to suit up and get into the competition, no matter their ability to play (minor details). 

What I learned from watching Tom Brady’s miracle-esq comeback: 

Winners Win 
We can make excuses, or we can win. We can blame other people, or we can win. We can fall, stay down and cry about it or we can win. I believe whole-heartedly that winners find a way, anyway, to win. Sunday's Superbowl win proved this as fact for me. 

Never Count Yourself Out Until The Game Is Over 

Personally, I've had some moments at the 20-yard line in life when I was ready to throw in the towel. But what do we have to loose by going another 20-yards? What will you gain? Victory? Defeat? The chance to do things differently? Better? 

Depending on your perception, all of these choices are possible wins. My suggestion, stay in the game. 

Never Count Yourself In Until The Game Is Over 

Celebrating too early has been the death of many, as witnessed in last year's presidential election. We saw it again Sunday night. I don’t know if you caught this, before a winner was  announced  Falcons owner trotted down to the field late in the fourth quarter, as to accept a trophy for a game that had not been called. Tragic. 

In business, we must be mindful of our competitors and never rule out the fight in another man's heart.  

Winning Is What Matters

Deflatgate, spygate, Giselegate (joke), whatever-gate to my point earlier, winners win. There is no amount of ridicule that can deny the greatest comeback in NFL history, and while everyone else is making up reasons why Tom Brady is not a winner, he continues to win. The rest of us are merely spectators, viewers, witnessing someone achieving greatness. 

People say a lot. They will say a lot about you and me but at the end of the day winning is what matters. How well you run your race is what matters, so again, stay in the game. 

Prayer Changes Things

The image of Brady sitting on the sidelines, head down, shoulders dropped, is probably burned into the mind of Patriots fans everywhere. The memes were relentless.

tom brady meme, instagram 

tom brady meme, instagram 

The game was over for most Falcon fans. However, on the bench, Brady was doing something. 

I'd like to say praying to a higher power. 

It takes humility to confess our need and ask for help, but what are our other options in the face of defeat? When no one in this world can comfort or provide us the relief we seek? We go back to which we came, seeking answers, seeking courage to finish what we started.

Just maybe, Brady believes in the power of prayer.